Saturday, March 22, 2014

Study Baggies

At the beginning of the second marking period, I started sending home weekly Study Baggies.  Every Monday I send home a baggie with a slip of paper with five things students practice every night.  Then during Fun Friday centers, I meet with each student individually and quiz them on the five items.  I track whether or not they know all five and replace the items they got correct with the next five things they need to know from their progress monitoring form.

I have been so impressed with my students' progress!  They have been working through kindergarten reading benchmarks!!  Almost all of my students are 100% proficient on their uppercase and lowercase letters, letter sounds, and now we are working through our 47 sight words (reading and writing), and DIBELS (nonsense word fluency, and segmenting sounds).  A number of students have even moved onto the first grade sight words!!!

The students keep these baggies in their take home folders all week. It's easy for parents to access nightly for practice and it's easy for my aide and I to grab when we have an extra moment throughout the day to practice with students.  It's differentiated, targets the skills each student needs the most to be successful, and the goals are easily attainable so it promotes self confidence.

I am so excited about the success of this program, that I am definitely going to start much earlier next school year!!  I'm always looking for ways to make things even better, so if you have any ideas....please share!!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

January's WOW Idea - Book in a Bag

We have (finally) started Book in a Bag and I have to say, I am totally loving how I revamped the process from last year. 

Kids take home book(s) on Monday's and return on Wednesday's and then take home a second book(s) on Wednesday and return on Friday. So, they have reading homework four nights a week. It took awhile for parents to get used to reading the same book(s) two nights in a row but I sent home a letter explaining how rereading helps all levels of readers with all kinds of reading strategies. 

Included with the book(s) is a bookmark which helps parents understand the expectations and gives directions on what reading activities to work on before, during and after reading. These activities and bookmarks are easily differentiated. I'd like to work up to some comprehension strategies for my readers while understanding that they are not developmentally ready for true comprehension. Also on the bookmark is a place for parents to check whether they felt the book was Just Right, Too Easy, or Too Hard. Hopefully after all of the time we've spent on learning how to self-rate the difficulty of books for independent reading with their book boxes, my kinders can help educate their parents on this process. 

My aide does an awesome job of organizing and prepping for me. We keep records on books students have read as well as a log of whether the parent felt the book was just right, too easy, or too hard. With parent/teacher conferences coming up soon, this is something I usually end up discussing with parents. 

If you'd like a copy of any of the items described above, please leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you a copy. 

So this was my January WOW idea.  Link up with Coast to Coast Kinder to get more WOW ideas and share your own!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Third Time Is the Charm

I have SO much fun sharing and growing as a teacher on Instagram and I've decided to give this blogging thing another try!! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Sweet Idea" Valentine's Day Gift

One of my students gave me this super cute ice cream sundae for Valentine's Day.  I loved it!  She bought plastic goblets and filled them up with m&m's.  Then at the top she put mini marshmallows (wrapped in plastic wrap) with a cherry on top (a red m&m).  To top it off she stuck a lollipop upside down in the "sundae".  Cute idea!  Must keep this idea in mind for the future....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Personification Mini Lesson

To spice up our descriptive writing, our class is focusing on figurative language.  We decided to tackle personification.

To help us understand personification better, we read the book, The Christmas Humbugs by Colleen Monroe.  This picture book kept my third graders' attention and it's jam-packed-full of examples of personification!  It's definitely a keeper.

After reading how the Humbugs tested the humans' holiday spirit, the kids were given the prompt:  describe how the humbugs tested our school spirit.  They had lots of creative ways for the Humbugs to test the students' school spirit (messing up our desks, ripping up the tests, eating all of the cafeteria food, etc).  They can't wait to share their stories!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My students were having a hard time remembering how/when to regroup with double digit subtraction.  On a whim....I explained that the two digits are partners and if the digit in the one's place needs help, he asks his partner, "Hey Friend, can I have ten?"  This has stuck and seems to help them with regrouping!!